Recently Read: Book Reviews

hillbillyHillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

I did not expect to cry at any part in this book, but I did. I expected an interesting sociological read, and it was, but it also touched on things about my own childhood and upbringing that resonated a little too close for comfort. (I would not have considered myself a hillbilly, but maybe I could reconsider? Woo to the hoo, Holtwood.) His relationship with his grandparents had some similarities to what I had with mine who lived just down the hill from me. Until I read this, I had forgotten about how when I had to move in fifth grade one of the things that I was most upset about was not being down the street from my grandparents anymore.

Vance’s relationship with his mom had some parallels to mine with my dad, and the ongoing struggle to want to help someone but knowing deep down that they have to make different choices themselves or all the help in the world will be futile. I could relate to much of what Vance wrote about loyalty and pride.

So the first half of the book: LOVED. The last quarter felt redundant.  It’s always interesting to me when a book becomes as wildly popular as this one has, and I wonder why this struck such a chord with so much of the country. Thoughts?

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

I started with the newest releases by Moriarty and loved them so much that I’m now covering her earlier stuff. I love the older stuff just as much, but you can definitely see the progression in her writing. This one, about three adult triplets whose parents divorced when they were young, is great, but I felt like it focused on one of the characters a bit more than the others. Sort of uneven. I also felt like it left a lot of loose ends with Gemma’s life. Nonetheless, GREAT humor and adventures throughout.

You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein

A lot of chapters: laughed out loud so hard my body was shaking. The chapters on baths and Anthropologie (LOL) come to mind, but there were other delightful ones too. She’s hilarious and brilliant. However, in enough chapters that it bothered me: content I would not recommend and skipped over. It’s gotten to the point with comedian memoirs that I can only enjoy them so much before it becomes sort of sad. Like yeah, you’re really REALLY funny (and smart), but I can also just sense how much you’re hurting and I want you to be emotionally healthy.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

The characters in this book are SO endearing, the writing is beautiful, and the story is wonderful. If you read one book this year, let it be this book. I would recommend it to anyone – male or female, any age. It tells the story of Ove, an elderly misanthrope living in Sweden who is befriended by his Iranian neighbors, much to his chagrin. Ove is the cranky old neighbor no one quite knows what to do with. His backstory is incredible. I LOVED this book!

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

I love a good sports story. Not sports themselves, so much as the stories about the athletes and teams and the details leading up to, during, and after the big event. I’m also a sucker for the concept of the good ole American dream: that with enough hard work and determination and a little luck you can achieve whatever you set out to do. This memoir by the founder of Nike has a lotta sports (the stats I don’t care about and the emotions/passion I adore, so something for everyone in my opinion) and a ton of grit and triumph.

I never really thought twice about how Nike came about. In my lifetime it’s always been a quintessential part of American culture, like McDonalds. Reading about the risks that Phil Knight took to start and grow his company sent my heart rate up. I believe we are all meant to take risks, but oh my goodness, I mean it when I say that I think taking the business/financial risks that he did would do me in. I love that Nike started in a small town in Oregon … the relationship between Phil and his dad and his anecdotes throughout the book of how sons pleasing their fathers is an age-old quest … and the team of eccentric (fun!) people who built Nike from the beginning. His writing is as masterful as his business sense, and I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed this book.


What about you? Read any great (or not-so-great) books lately? What’s on your summer reading list? Thanks for stopping by!


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